Forget about running for student body president. Corona del Sol High School senior Derek Lull is running for mayor.
Nevermind that the Tempe native is not yet old enough to vote. Lull will turn 18 on Feb. 16 — plenty of time before the city’s March 11 primary election.
Lull, a Tempe native running as a write-in candidate, will be Mayor Hugh Hallman’s only opponent in his re-election bid.
Lull said he has no experience in government but became interested in politics a few years ago when he went on a trip to Washington, D.C., to learn about government.
Lull said he then started attending City Council meetings, which is what led him to the decision to be a write-in mayoral candidate. If elected, the teen said he will work to reduce crime in the city.
“Crime can be reduced with more community involvement,” he said.
Lull also wants to reduce property taxes, saying they are not in line with the housing market.
Lull’s father, Paul E. Lull III, said his son’s candidacy does not have to do with discontent with how Hallman has handled the city, but rather his son’s desire to give the people of Tempe a choice in the election.
The father dismissed concerns that Derek Lull might be too young to run for office. He said the residents of Tempe would not have made the statute allowing 18-year-olds to run for office if they thought candidates needed to be older.
He said his son’s youth might actually be an advantage.
“That kind of diversity in the city or the City Council can do nothing but good,” Paul Lull said.
As for Hallman, he said he was pleased to hear he had an opponent.
“I am always delighted when people take an interest in the democratic process,” Hallman said in an e-mail.
Derek Lull said he has participated in cross country, track and field and marching band at Corona Del Sol.
Corona del Sol principal Susan Edwards said last week she had not yet met Lull, but she wanted to get to know him in the next few days.
After graduation, Lull said he plans to attend Arizona State University in his hometown.
He said being a student would not interfere with his duties as mayor.
“I’m a life-long learner,” he said. “Anything I can learn is to my benefit.”
His mother, Rebecca Lull, said she supports her son’s decision to enter the race.
“We’re proud of him,” she said.